information systems

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Information system improvement

INTRODUCTION

Information technology has become an important issue for the business world. The busy life and the diversity of the business problems require the development of the computer-based information system. According to the information system improvement, it needs the involvement of the system analysts. System analysis is a scientific term, dealing with the analysis of a system and the interacted components within a system.

As a result, last year Sun Hotel group located in London did have to replace the old system. A new system was developed under the cooperation of MKS Solutions. And a system analyst was sent to Sun Hotel group to support developing an information system for the hotel business' purposes.

KNOWLEDGE REVIEW

Different life cycle models, advantages and disadvantages of each to Sun Hotel [P3]

Nowadays, there are many different types of SDLC. To give the best choice to Sun Hotel, some following life cycle models can be accessed:

Waterfall model: As a name itself, its structure is really like as a waterfall. It is a process of step-by-step phases: Requirements identifying, design, implementation, verification and maintenance. That means each stage in the Waterfall approach is the finalisation of the previous stage and the next stage only can begin when the goals of the current phase are achieved.

Waterfall model is a traditional model, introduced very early and widely used for software engineering.

Advantages:

  • Quite visible and easy to understand the system life cycle model
  • Testing and documentation requirement arise in every phases
  • A disciplined process with the close relationship between each stage of the model
  • A popular method to implement

Disadvantages:

  • Only integrates iteration indirectly, changes may cause the confusion during the project progress.
  • This model needs initially exact requirements from the users before starting its process, that seems to be difficult for the customers to identify explicitly all requirements at one time from beginning.
  • The user only can see the final product, once done any addition is hard to be made, so may require newer version of the system, causes rising cost.

Therefore, in fact a lot of projects rarely follow Waterfall proposed consequential flow. And the project to follow a Waterfall requires the right staff.

Prototyping model: Is a system developing method in which, a prototype is a provisional final product or system is designed, built, tested and resolved if necessary until achieving a final prototype meet the requirements. From this prototype, the system will be developed to reach the completion. Figure 2.2 shows quite clearly the steps taken in the Prototyping approach. The quick requirements definition, testing, building, and prototype evaluation by customer are taken step-by-step, and may be redone for a new cycle until outcome is an acceptance prototype.

Advantages:

  • Designer and implementer can obtain the feedback from the customer early in the project.
  • Software specifications can be compared with the prototype in the process, easy to identify the missing requirements or confusion.
  • Validation required as it is an iterative, trial and error fixed process between the user and producer.
  • Support development and flexible design.

Disadvantages:

  • The system built by producer may be not enough adequate for the organisation's needs.
  • Many changes are made to the system may cause the interruption of the system's structure.
  • Incomplete application may become useless as a requirement of full worked-system.
  • May reduce high-standard and technicality of the project as too much involvement of the users during the process.

Spiral model: This is another type of system life cycle. This process combines the features of Waterfall model and Prototyping model. The approach was defined Barry Boehm in 'A Spiral Model of Software Development and Enhancement' in 1985. Some iterative steps are generated as:

Requirements are defined as much as possible based on interviewing both internal and external users of the system with the other aspects of it.

Design the all the possibilities, using them to develop for the cost efficiency, analysis and methodology. Also identifying and resolving all possible risk in project development to find out the possible outcome (prototype) which is able to adapt the available information.

First prototype is contributed. This gets closer to the final product as it describes generally almost the characteristics of the intended application.

The next prototype is developed overall the four routines: evaluation of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the previous prototype, determining the requirements for the next prototype, planning and designing the new prototype, and building and testing new outcome.

Advantages:

  • Enhancement in preventing the risks.
  • Strong approval and documentation control.
  • Any change can be made in the future time.
  • Be more able to adapt the practical world as implementation is in priority.

Disadvantages:

  • Quite complex approach requires the expertise to evaluate the prototypes and analyse the strategy.
  • Still based on Waterfall framework, implementation may be end up due to not meet allowance for budget or schedule.
  • Possibility of increasing the cost of size of project.

So, Spiral model only can be applied for the large project with large scale of budget and requires instant concentration into the target.

V model: Is a software development process. It is considered as an extension of Waterfall model but the stages of the process move following a V shape, instead of moving downward as in Waterfall concept. In the figure 2.4, after falling from the first phase, at the implementation phase, the direction of the process changes upward, creating a form of V. The relationship between the stages of V approach is very high-structured where the next phase is carried out in details of the previous phase. That helps increasing the potential of the project, preventing the waste, saving time as well as the cost.

Advantages:

  • A fast and economical method as errors and risks are detected in early stages.
  • Verification and validation are done side by side.
  • The value of product is improved.

Disadvantages:

  • Needs a large number of people.
  • Only can be implemented by the big company.

The use of data modelling techniques [P4]

Data modelling is a method by which the data model is created through defining and analysing the data requirements to support the performance of an organisation's operating system.

Data modelling can be performed at any stage of any project. It is various and there is no certain model of data. In business world, data modelling techniques can be used for some purposes such as:

  • To manage data of resources (human resource, product resource, etc.)
  • For the information systems' integration.
  • Fundamental step to create the data base, data warehouse.

In practise, there are three main styles of data model:

Conceptual data model: This is high level representation of organisational data. It is created to explore the domains and structures of an organisation, for example: the rules of meanings and interrelationship of the entities of a business (staff, customer, stock and so on).

Logical data modelling (LDM): Specify more detail (attributes) for the data than conceptual modelling.

The relationship between customer (entity) and address is stated, also the details of each is specified (figure 2.7). But the implementation environment of data is not concerned enough.

Physical data modelling (PDM): Continues going further, more details is added. Also, the actual physical implementation of data is specified. In the figure 2.8, that shows greater details than in figure 2.7, as well as an additional of associative table with the keys to maintain the relationship of customer and address.

In data modelling approach, entity-relationship diagrams (ERD) are used very popularly as it is quite comprehensive, using the notations to present the relationship between the entities defined within the system.

Besides that, there are still some other types of modelling, for example: Database modelling. This technique absolutely becomes effectively when it complies with database management system, which the most organisations in the real world now have to consult. Besides that, semantic data modelling is another type of data model which established from the need to defining the data from the conceptual model. As the illustration of real world through symbolising the resources, ideas, events in the physical data store, it is useful in planning of data resources; build of shareable database, evaluation of vendor software and integration of existing database.

CASE: SUN HOTEL

Area of investigation [P9]

This report investigates on the hotel management system of Sun Hotel.

As a result in business world, especially in hotel industry, the information system of each business needs to be developed to adapt with the growth of business, the current technology issues as well as helping the business moving smoothly. Under some problems of the old and traditional system of the organisation, the automation and additional accounting information is required to be upgraded. Because of lack of technology involvement in the relationship between the different functional areas of the company, information moves very slowly, causes the inconvenience for both customers and staff. Therefore, the current booking, room management and billing systems do not work interactively and effectively. Most of the bookings details and keeping track of transactions is recorded into the papers, causes a difficulty in calling the information and duplicated data. Company also has to invest a lot of money for human resource. In additional to, a current poor database doesn't help the staff, create many difficulties for them to access the data when dealing with the customers at work. So, a current database needs to be replaced by another more logical, details, and related database.

The possible solutions for Sun Hotel's problems [P7]

Firstly, all the departments need to be re-functioned and re-structured. All the processes, booking, room management and billing should be related, allowing sharing information between them. They have to operate in a new united system.

Secondly, a database can be created through database modelling method, ensures the hotel's data (customers' details, rooms' details, rate, etc.) is stored and controlled well by a database management system. There are a few available software can be purchased for this such as: Microsoft Access, Oracle or Microsoft Excel.

Other software for overall hotel management, reservation and bill calculation needs to be installed to perform the functions of those procedures, professionalises the hotel's system. Some applications can be used very effectively are: RoomKey by RSI International, roomMaster2000 by InnQuest, GuestMaster by GuestMaster International or Fiesta by Fayafi Infomatic...They are all affordable, reliable to support all sizes of hotel; also are implemented very successfully by a lot of hotel in the world.

System Development Life Cycle for Sun Hotel [P2]

From point of view overall the section 2.2, Waterfall approach is the best choice for Sun Hotel's system. Each SDLC has its own advantages and disadvantages but looking at the constraints such as: the project needs to be finished within one month to adapt the business' needs, low allowance budget...Also the system will be built after collecting all the information, requirements from the users.

System requirements [P8]

To continue the progress, the team did work side-by-side with the owner, manager of each department. They outlined some following requirements:

  • A fast and convenient system with the budget up to £10,000
  • An ability to share information between the departments
  • All booking are made via phone, the Internet or at the hotel, payment needs to be processed before all booking details are stored into the hotel's data system.
  • The system can automatically check the available of rooms, list types of room (single, double or family) and their price with the details of each.
  • System needs to automatically generate the reservation number and calculate bill for each transaction, print the invoice.
  • Automatically checks the status of each rooms
  • Helps calculate turnover, time spent of each type of room over a period, keep track of transactions.

To be able to develop to the system which meets the above requirements, Sun Hotel needs computer platforms for each department, data storage (at least 100GB) for database, specific software, the Internet and Local Area Network connection, printers, cables, business' website.

System processes and functions [P10]

To explore the processes and functions of the developed system, it needs to be broken down in smaller procedures:

Bookings: - Takes the booking details, enters them into the computer system.

Searches details about room, customers, and hotel

Gives the response to the customer (rejection, confirmation or availability of rooms)

Billings: - Sets and updates the rate

Gets the details from the system to calculate the bills, processes payment, prints invoice (referring the check-out function, the bill is calculated by check out date minus check in date, then multiply with daily rate (plus additional charge).

Records the bills in the database.

Room management: - Updates the status of reserved rooms to the system

  • Collects the details of booking from the reception, records into the system to generate the reservation number
  • Set changes of rooms, room conditions to and update to the hotel's room database.
  • Match the requirements of customers such as size, non-smoking to the room's specifications to allocate the suitable room.

CONCLUSION

The project for the improvement in hotel management system for Sun Hotel has finished by MKS Solutions. By using the system analysis tools, the analysts have drawn a system which would be ideal for the business.

There are a lot of advantages that fulfil the problems which Sun Hotel had to face. The new system has brought the benefits for the company in performance, efficiency, control and security, for example: no more data duplication, saving paper work, automatic validation, secured and reliable data, time and cost efficient, etc.

Also, the system can be used for a long period, be able to adapt to the change of information technology issue.

REFERENCE

  • Learning Zone: Analysis and Design [Online], Available at: http://www.selectbs.com/adt/learning-zone-analysis-and-design [Accessed: 18th December 2009]
  • Kay, R. (2002) Quick study: System Development Life Cycle [Online]. Available at: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/71151/System_Development_Life_Cycle [Accessed: 27th December 2009]
  • System life cycle [Online]. Available at: http://www.teach-ict.com/as_a2/topics/system_life_cycle/slc/index.htm [Accessed: 11th December 2009]
  • Systems Development Life Cycles [Online]. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems_Development_Life_Cycle [Accessed: 27th December 2009]
  • Data modelling [Online]. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_modelling [Accessed: 2nd January 2010]
  • Richard, C. Et al. (2002). Life-Cycle Models for Survivable Systems. [Online]. October 2002. Available at: http://www.cert.org/archive/pdf/02tr026.pdf [Accessed: 5th January 2010]
  • Rob, P. & Coronel, C. (2007). Database Systems: Design, Implementation, and Management. 8th Edition. USA: Course Technology Ptr.
  • Yeates, D. (1994). Systems Analysis and Design. Pitman

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